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Tag Archives: Moral Debates on Prostitution

Gold, Natalie. (2019). The limits of commodification arguments: Framing, motivation crowding, and shared valuations. Politics, Philosophy & Economics. https://doi.org/10.1177/1470594X19825494.
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I connect commodification arguments to an empirical literature, present a mechanism by which commodification may occur, and show how this may restrict the range of goods and services that are subject to commodification, therefore having implications for the use of commodification arguments in political theory. Commodification arguments assert that some people’s trading a good or service can debase it for third parties. They consist of a normative premise, a theory of value, and an empirical premise, a mechanism whereby some people’s market exchange affects how goods can be valued by others. Hence, their soundness depends on the existence of a suitable candidate mechanism for the empirical premise. The ‘motivation crowding effect’ has been cited as the empirical base of commodification. I show why the main explanations of motivation crowding – signaling and over-justification – do not provide mechanisms that could underpin the empirical premise. In doing this, I reveal some requirements on any candidate mechanism. I present a third explanation of motivation crowding, based on the crowding out of frames, and show how it fulfills the requirements. With a mechanism in hand, I explore the type of goods and services to which commodification arguments are applicable. The mechanism enables markets to break down ‘shared valuations’, which is a subset of the valuations that proponents of commodification arguments are concerned with. Further, it can only break down relatively fragile shared understandings and therefore, I suggest, it cannot support a commodification argument regarding the sale of sexual services.

 

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Dadhania, Pooja, Deporting Undesirable Women (October 2, 2018). 9 UC Irvine L. Rev. 53 (2018); California Western School of Law Research Paper No. 18-15. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3259599
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Immigration law has long labeled certain categories of immigrants “undesirable.” One of the longest-standing of these categories is women who sell sex. Current immigration laws subject sellers of sex to an inconsistent array of harsh immigration penalties, including bars to entry to the United States as well as mandatory detention and removal. A historical review of prostitution-related immigration laws reveals troubling origins. Grounded in turn-of-the-twentieth-century morality, these laws singled out female sellers of sex as immoral and as threats to American marriages and families. Indeed, the first such law specifically targeted Asian women as threats to the moral fabric of the United States due to their perceived sexual deviance. Subsequent laws built upon these problematic foundations, largely without reexamining the initial goal of safeguarding American morality from the ostensible sexual threat of noncitizen women. This dark history casts a long shadow, and current laws remain rooted in these archaic notions of morality by continuing to focus penalties on sellers of sex (who tend to be women), without reciprocal penalties for buyers (who tend to be men). Contemporary societal views on sellers of sex have changed, however, as society has come to increasingly tolerate and accept sexual conduct outside the bounds of marriage. Although societal views surrounding prostitution remain complex, there is an increased understanding of the different motivations of sellers of sex, as well as a recognition that individuals forced into prostitution are victims who need protection. Prostitution-related immigration laws should be reformed to no longer penalize sellers of sex, both to bring immigration law in line with modern attitudes towards sellers of sex and to mitigate the discriminatory effect of the archaic and gendered moral underpinnings that initially gave rise to and continue to show in these laws.
This article examines efforts to order Times Square during the first five decades of its existence as a high profile commercial centre. Between 1892 and 1954, New York City powerholders launched a number of clean up campaigns that sought to minimize the working class attributes of the district and to transform it into a mainstream consumption space. These campaigns targeted commercial sex, gay nightclubs, burlesque theatres, street vendors, ‘disorderly’ people, and honky tonks. The strategies used to order Times Square included exclusionary zoning, moral campaigns and restrictive licensing, as well as the enforcement of curfews, building codes, anti-loitering legislation, and indecency statutes. Despite these efforts, the working class character of Times Square persisted, even though the operation of many working class establishments was disrupted and the freedom of ordinary people to frequent the district was compromised.
Pendleton, Kimberly. 2017. „The other sex industry: narratives of feminism and freedom in evangelical discourses of human trafficking“. New Formations 91 (91): 102–15. https://doi.org/10.3898/NEWF:91.06.2017.
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This paper explores the role that narratives of ‘sex trafficking’ play within evangelical Christian conceptions of sex, gender, and global engagement. It examines evangelical cultural products that link sex work, pornography consumption, and forced prostitution, all of which constitute a site through which gender norms are negotiated. Primarily, this paper argues that masculinity itself is imagined to be the central victim within the evangelical fight against sex trafficking. Additionally, this paper argues that the language of this fight, particularly its emphasis on the ways that men harm women, is embedded within feminist rhetoric and logic, even when utilising them to anti-feminist ends. Finally, this paper demonstrates that the parameters of evangelical interest in the sex industry, and the focus on masculinity in crisis, in particular, are imbued with racial imagery that creates a dichotomy between the foreign, dangerous, and dark space, where men are tempted and a safe, white domesticity to which properly restored patriarchy promises to return them.
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The practice of race defilement in Hungary began following the passage of the 1941 Marriage Law, a comprehensive law on marriage that introduced mandatory premarital health checks, marriage loans and the prohibition of marriage between Jews and non-Jews. In contrast with Nazi Germany, in Hungary non-Jewish men were exempted from the provisions of the law, so only Jewish men could be convicted and only if they had a liaison with “honorable” women. The vague non-legal term “honorable” provided the authorities with the opportunity to limit sexual and other contact between “Jews” and “non-Jews” and also to exert control over female bodies through policing and surveillance, as female “honor” was in most cases crucial in order to determine the course of the proceedings. This paper uses the theoretical framework of the history of emotions to reconstruct the types of “honor” that come to light from an analysis of the papers of these court cases and their importance for sexual politics in Horthy-era Hungary.

Siobhán Hearne (2017) Sex on the Front: Prostitution and Venereal
Disease in Russia’s First World War, Revolutionary Russia, 30:1, 102-122, DOI:
10.1080/09546545.2017.1317093

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Prostitution flourished during Russia’s First World War. Mass mobilisation and the displacement of millions of the empire’s population challenged the tsarist state’s ability to control both the movement and bodies of those buying and selling sex. In light of this, military and medical authorities shifted their attention more directly onto regulating men’s bodies. Wartime social turmoil also increased the visibility of prostitution, which saw many enlisted men lament the apparent ‘moral decline’ that they witnessed on the front. This article examines how the tsarist authorities grappled to control the bodies of its populace on Russia’s western front, and how the conflict had an impact upon ideas of morality and sexuality.

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This article analyzes celebrities’ norm entrepreneurship through a specific instance of its enactment: Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore’s media campaign against human trafficking (the K&M Campaign). Drawing from literatures about celebrities and politics and norm entrepreneurship, and using qualitative-interpretive methods of data collection and analysis, I show how the K&M Campaign provides an early, high-profile example of this norm entrepreneurship that demonstrates why and how celebrities communicate norms to the broader public. To illustrate, I show how changing political-economic conditions have facilitated celebrities’ ascendance in the polity, and I argue that Kutcher and Moore have emerged under these conditions to actively oppose human trafficking. Using their considerable resources, they have promoted an “individual responsibility” norm that instructs the public to avoid coercive sexual and labor activities and trafficking situations. I then argue further that the K&M Campaign provides broader lessons about norms’ fluidity: even when they are seemingly incontrovertible and their entrepreneurial proponents (celebrities) have extensive resources, norms may be contradicted and contentious nonetheless. In this case, by promoting an individual responsibility norm, Kutcher and Moore inadvertently conveyed retrograde gender norms and minimized the importance of broader structural solutions to human trafficking.